London — Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Brazilian international midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk as Jose Mourinho seeks to topple reigning Premier League Champions Manchester City.
The 25-year-old will cost the English giants a reported fee of about £52m and give Mourinho a powerful-looking midfield, with the Brazilian set to slot in alongside Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
A statement on the club’s website said: "Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement with Shakhtar Donetsk for the transfer of Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos [Fred]."
Beating City to the signature of Fred, who was a target for the English champions in January, could prove to be a significant first step.
Fred caught the eye in Shakhtar’s run to the last-16 of the Champions League, where the Ukrainians only lost out on away goals to Roma. A stunning free-kick in the first leg of that tie was a glimpse of what Fred’s talented left foot can produce.
However, he is far more of a creator than a goal scorer, as his record of just 15 goals in five years at Shakhtar suggests.
United are in need of midfield reinforcements, with Michael Carrick retiring and Marouane Fellaini out of contract. Mourinho’s task will now be to harness Fred’s passing ability, while also finally getting the best out of Pogba in his third season.
United fans are unlikely to get much of a glimpse of the new player at the World Cup in Russia, though, as he is yet to start an international under current coach Tite.